It’s been quite an incredible season for Geelong, currently sitting atop the AFL ladder after a sensational campaign so far. One of the stars of this Cats side this season has been youngster Tim Kelly. In a team packed with players competing at the very top of their game, Kelly has stood out and proved just why so many AFL teams are monitoring the 24-year old’s situation at Geelong so closely. Nearing the end of the contract he signed when he was drafted 24th in 2017, Kelly couldn’t be in a stronger position in terms of leverage.
The Cats are certainly very keen on tying down the second-year professional, who is among the favourites in the race for the Brownlow Medal. Geelong proved their determination to keep Kelly last October when the midfielder requested to be traded home to Western Australia with West Coast, a request that was rejected by the Cats. With his contract coming to an end, though, the Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers are both expected to be making their own lucrative offers to the youngster.
It, therefore, came as little surprise when Cats list manager Stephen Wells confirmed the club have already made an offer to their standout star; reportedly a one-year deal with the option for a second season that would see his salary increase to a whopping $800,000 in 2020. While Kelly has made no secret over his desire to return west with his young family, the current form of the Cats will certainly be a factor behind the in-demand midfielder’s decision.
Sitting top of the AFL ladder after just one defeat in their opening 12 games, Geelong are firing on all cylinders and all their players look to be really enjoying their football, especially Kelly. Currently as short as 9/4 with the latest Aussie Rules betting odds to win this season’s Grand Final, ending the year with a premiership and Brownlow Medal may be enough to convince Kelly Geelong is where he needs to be at this point in his career. At 24, there is still plenty of time for the Perth native to return to WA later down the line.
Kelly has been a revelation since his arrival in Geelong, not missing an AFL game since being drafted and ending his rookie year by being named Best First-Year Player by his fellow professionals at the AFL Players’ Association Awards. This season, Kelly currently leads both the AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year award and Champion Data’s Brownlow predictor. This season, he’s kicked 10 goals, averaged 26.6 disposals and ranked among the league’s top 10 for clearances per game. In just his second year in the league, Kelly is on course to win the game’s most illustrious individual award.
If it weren’t for his desire to return to WA, it’s hard to see a scenario where Kelly would want to leave this Geelong team. You only have to look at the midfielder’s face when he’s on the field this season to see a player really enjoying his work, which has then been evident by his brilliant performances.